Thursday, April 30, 2009

What grace can do

Your stubborn sinner, you cannot touch him, and even providence has failed to awaken him. He is dead — altogether dead in trespasses and sins. But if the glorious Lord will graciously send forth the wind of his Spirit, that will melt him. The swearing reprobate, whose mouth is blackened with profanity, if the Lord doth but look upon him and make bare his arm of irresistible grace, shall yet praise God, and bless his name, and live to his honor.

Do not limit the Holy One of Israel. Persecuting Saul became loving Paul, and why should not that person be saved of whose case you almost despair? Your husband may have many points which make his case difficult, but no case is desperate with God. Your son may have offended both against heaven and against you, but God can save the most hardened. The sharpest frost of obstinate sin must yield to the thaw of grace. Even huge icebergs of crime must melt in the Gulf-stream of infinite love.

From a sermon entitled "Frost And Thaw," delivered December 24, 1865. Image by rachel_thecat under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sons of God

If we are the sons of God, we are dearly beloved of God. Did you ever try to get that thought into your mind, that God loves you? I can understand that God pities me; that is a feeling which so vastly superior a being might well feel to so inferior an existence; but that he loves me is scarcely conceivable, although it is most sure and certain. Who can drink this well dry? Who can bear home this fruitful sheaf of delights, this purple cluster of Eshcol? Sons of God are loved of their Father with a love surpassing thought.

They are, indeed, intimately related as well as dearly loved. There is a union between God and his sons. There is the same nature in the son as there is in the father, for we become “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” These are no words of mine, but of the Holy Spirit; one would not have dared to have uttered them if inspiration had not made them ready to our hand. We are most near and dear to the blessed God who filleth all in all.

From a sermon entitled "Open Heart For The Great Savior," delivered December 17, 1865. Image by Chris Loftqvist under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Loving the brethren

Where the Spirit of God is there must be love, and if I have once known and recognized any man to be my brother in Christ Jesus, the love of Christ constraineth me no more to think of him as a stranger or foreigner, but a fellow citizen with the saints. Now I hate High Churchism as my soul hates Satan; but I love George Herbert, although George Herbert is a desperately High Churchman. I hate his High Churchism, but I love George Herbert from my very soul, and I have a warm corner in my heart for every man who is like him. Let me find a man who loves my Lord Jesus Christ as George Herbert did, and I do not ask myself whether I shall love him or not; there is no room for question, for I cannot help myself; unless I can leave off loving Jesus Christ, I cannot cease loving those who love him.

Here is George Fox, the Quaker, a strange sort of body it is true, going about the world making much noise and stir; but I love the man with all my soul, because he had an awful respect for the presence of God and an intense love for everything spiritual. How is it that I cannot help loving George Herbert and George Fox, who are in some things complete opposites? Because they both loved the Master. I will defy you, if you have any love to Jesus Christ to pick or choose among his people; you may hate as much as you will the shells, in which the pearls lie, and the dross with which the gold is mixed, but the true, the precious blood-bought gold, the true pearl, heaven-dyed, you must esteem. You must love a spiritual man find him wherever you may.

From a sermon entitled "Unity in Christ," delivered January 7, 1866. Image by Ginny under Creative Commons License.

Monday, April 27, 2009

In the light of Heaven

Courage, brother, courage, sister; there is rest for the weary; there is eternal rest for the beloved of the Lord, and when thou shalt arrive in heaven, how little, how utterly insignificant thy toil will seem, even if it shall have lasted threescore years and ten. You are pained much; even now pain shoots through your body; you do not often know what it is to have an easy hour, and you half murmur, “Why am I thus? Why did God deal so hardly with me?” Think of heaven, where the inhabitants shall no more say, “I am sick;” where there are no groans to mingle with the songs that warble from immortal tongues. Courage, tried one, Oh it will soon be over; it is but a pin’s prick or a moment’s pang, and then eternal glory. Be of good cheer, and let not thy patience fail thee. And so thou hast been slandered. On thy face, for Christ’s dear name, shame and reproach have been cast, and thou art ready to give up. Come, man, look before thee! Canst thou not hear the acclamations of the angels as the conquerors receive one by one their eternal crowns?

What! wilt thou not fight when there is so much to be won? Must thou be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease? Thou must fight if thou wouldst reign. Gird up the loins of thy mind and have respect to the recompense of reward. In the light of heaven, the shame of earth will seem to be less than nothing and vanity.

From a sermon entitled "Last Things," delivered December 31, 1865. Image by Prakhar Amba under Creative Commons License.

Friday, April 24, 2009

What is man, that You should take thought of him?

LORD, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! Or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!

What a contrast between Jehovah and man! The Psalmist turns from the glorious all-sufficiency of God to the insignificance and nothingness of man. He sees Jehovah to be everything, and then cries, “Lord, what is man!” What is man in the presence of the Infinite God? What can he be compared to? He is too little to be described at all, only God, who knows the most minute object, can tell what man is. Certainly he is not fit to be the rock of our confidence, he is at once too feeble and too fickle to be relied upon. The Psalmist's wonder is that God should stoop to know him, and indeed it is more remarkable than if the greatest archangel should make a study of emmets [ants - ed.], or become the friend of mites. God knows his people with a tender intimacy, a constant, careful observation: he foreknew them in love, he knows them by care, he will know them is acceptance at last.

Why and wherefore is this? What has man done? What has he been? What is he now that God should know him, and make himself known to him as his goodness, fortress, and high tower? This is an unanswerable question. Infinite condescension can alone account for the Lord stooping to be the friend of man. That he should make man the subject of election, the object of redemption, the child of eternal love, the darling of infallible providence, the next of kin to Deity, is indeed a matter requiring more than the two notes of exclamation found in this verse.

From The Treasury of David, exposition of Psalm 144:3. Image by Matt McGee under Creative Commons License.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Praise the Name of the Lord!

Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the name of the LORD; praise him, O ye servants of the LORD.

Do not only magnify the Lord because he is God; but study his character and his doings, and thus render intelligent, appreciative praise. “Praise him, O ye servants of the Lord.” If others are silent, you must not be; you must be the first to celebrate his praises. You are “servants,” and this is part of your service; his “name” is named upon you, therefore celebrate his name with praises; you know what a blessed Master he is, therefore speak well of him. Those who shun his service are sure to neglect his praise; but as grace has made you his own personal servants, let your hearts make you his court-musicians. Here we see the servant of the Lord arousing his fellow-servants by three times calling upon them to praise. Are we then, so slow in such a sweet employ? Or is it that when we do our utmost it is all too little for such a Lord? Both are true. We do not praise enough; we cannot praise too much. We ought to be always at it; answering to the command here given - Praise, Praise, Praise. Let the three-in-one have the praises of our spirit, soul, and body. For the past, the present, and the future, let us render three-fold hallelujahs.

From The Treasury of David, exposition of Psalm 135:1. Image by Matt McGee under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The prayer of faith

“They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.”

As if he had said, “How is it that I am now left without succor in my overwhelming griefs, while all others have been helped?” We may remind the Lord of his former lovingkindnesses to his people, and beseech him to be still the same. This is true wrestling; let us learn the art. Observe, that ancient saints cried and trusted, and that in trouble we must do the same; and the invariable result was that they were not ashamed of their hope, for deliverance came in due time; this same happy portion shall be ours. The prayer of faith can do the deed when nothing else can.

From The Treasury of David, exposition of Psalm 22:5. Image by aussiegall under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

We may now draw near

The dispensation of the old covenant was that of distance. When God appeared even to his servant Moses, it was, “Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet;” and when he manifested himself upon Mount Sinai to his own chosen and separated people, one of the first commands was, “Thou shalt set bounds about the mount, and if so much as a beast touch the mountain it shall be stoned or thrust through with a dart.” In the sacred worship of the tabernacle and the temple the thought of distance must always have been prominent to the devout mind. The mass of the people did not even enter the outer court. Into the inner court none but the priests could ever dare to come; while into the innermost place, or the holy of holies, but once a year one person only ever entered. A thick costly veil hung before the manifestation of Jehovah’s presence, and upon the Shekinah no mortal eye ever gazed, except that eye which once a year alone dared to look upon its splendor through the mist of the smoking incense, when the blood of atonement was sprinkled on the mercy seat.

The Lord seemed ever to be saying to the whole of his people, with but a few exceptions, “Come not nigh hither.” It was the dispensation of distance; as if the Lord in those early ages would teach man that sin was so utterly loathsome to him that he must treat men as lepers put without the camp, and when he came nearest to them yet made them feel the width of the separation between a holy God and the impure sinner.

But Jesus Christ came on quite another footing. The word “Go” was now exchanged for “Come,” and distance was made to give place to nearness; partitions were broken down, middle walls of separation became like tottering fences, and we who sometime were afar off were made nigh by the blood of Jesus Christ.

From a sermon entitled "Open House For All Comers," delivered December 17, 1865. Image by Andrew Larsen under Creative Commons License.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Continue to labor for Him!

Called early or called late, called at midday or called at early noon, let us together, since we have been called by grace alone, ascribe it all to the Lord Jesus, and moved by the mighty constraints of his love, let us work with body, soul, and spirit - work for him till we can work no longer, and then praise him in the rest of glory. I pray you, brethren, suffer no idleness to creep over you. If you have sought to extend the Redeemer’s kingdom, do it more. Give more, talk more of Christ, pray more, labor more! I often receive the kind advice, “Do less.” I cannot do less. Do less! Why, better rot altogether than live the inglorious life of doing less than our utmost for God. We shall none of us, I am afraid, kill ourselves with working too hard for Jesus.

From a sermon entitled "Early And Late, Or Horae Gratiae," delivered December 10, 1865. Image by Tim under Creative Commons License.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Oh, how he must have loved, to have descended from heaven to earth, and from earth to the grave! How he must have loved to have chosen us, when we were hating him - when we were enemies, he hath reconciled us unto God by his own death. Dead in trespasses and sins, corrupt. wrapped up in the cerements of evil habits, hateful and hating one another, full of sin and every abomination, yet he loved us so as to yield up his soul unto death for us. We are dealing with great things here indeed, and we must not forget the greatness of the influence which such an atonement, the result of such love, must have upon the Christian’s heart. Oh, the greatness of the peace which passeth all understanding, which flows from this great atonement! Oh, the greatness of the gratitude which must blaze forth from such a sacred fire as this!

From a sermon entitled "Walking In The Light And Washed In The Blood," delivered December 3, 1865. Image by Mark Robinson under Creative Commons License.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

To have a clear conscience

To have a clear conscience, to wear a guileless spirit, to have a heart void of offense, is greater riches than the mines of Ophir could yield or the traffic of Tyre could win. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and inward contention therewith. An ounce of heart’s ease is worth a ton of gold; and a drop of innocence is better than a sea of flattery. Burn, Christian, if it comes to that, but never turn from the right way. Die, but never deny the truth. Lose all to buy the truth; but sell it not, even though the price were the treasure and honor of the whole world, for “what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”

From a sermon entitled "Consolation In The Furnace," delivered November 26, 1865. Image by Nick Russill under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The awful sacrifice

There stands the just and holy God, willing to forgive if it can be done without injury to the immutable principles of right. There sits the arbitrator, looking with eyes of love upon the poor, weeping, trembling sinner, and anxious to devise a plan to save him, but conscious that that plan must not infringe upon divine justice; for it were a worse cruelty to injure divine perfections than it were to destroy the whole human race. The arbitrator, therefore, after pausing awhile, puts it thus: “I am anxious that these two should be brought together; I love them both: I cannot, on the one hand, recommend that my Father should stain his honor; I cannot, on the other hand, endure that this sinner should be cast eternally into hell; I will decide the case, and it shall be thus: I will pay my Father’s justice all it craves; I pledge myself that in the fullness of time I will suffer in my own proper person all that the weeping, trembling sinner ought to have suffered. My Father, wilt thou stand to this?” The eternal God accepts the awful sacrifice!

What say you, sinner, what say you? Why, methinks you cannot have two opinions. If you are sane - and may God make you sane - you will melt with wonder. You will say, “I could not have thought this! I never called in a daysman [that is, an arbitrator] with an expectation of this! I have sinned, and he declares that he will suffer; I am guilty, and he says that he will be punished for me!”

From a sermon entitled "The Great Arbitration Case." Image by bbjee under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It is Christ Himself

God did not sit in solemn silence and create the light, but he spake. He said, “Light be,” and light was. So the way in which we receive light is by the Word of God. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. Christ himself is the essential Word, and the preaching of Christ Jesus is the operative Word. We receive Christ actually when God’s power goes with God’s Word - then have we light. Hence the necessity of continually preaching the Word of God. If I preach my own word, no light will go with it; but when it is God’s Word, then I may expect that light will follow.

Oh! to preach Christ’s cross. My brethren and sisters, choose no ministry but that which savours much of God’s Word, and especially of the Word Christ Jesus. Better to preach one sermon full of Christ, than a thousand in which he shall be left out. “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.” The great magnet and lodestone of gospel attraction is Christ himself; and if we leave him out, it is as though we should expect the world to receive light without the Almighty Word.

From a sermon entitled "Light, Natural And Spiritual," delivered November 12, 1865. Image by Roberto Ferrari under Creative Commons License.

Monday, April 13, 2009

That blessed hope

They will wait in vain now for his first coming, that having passed already. Waiting for the Messiah was a virtue in Simeon’s day: it is the infidelity of the Jews now, since the Messiah is come. Still there is a high sense in which the Christian ought to be every day waiting for the consolation of Israel. I am very pleased to see that the doctrine of the second advent of Christ is gaining ground everywhere. I find that the most spiritual men in every place are “looking for,” as well as “hastening unto,” the coming of our Lord and Savior. I marvel that the belief is not universal, for it is so perfectly scriptural. We are, we trust, some of us, in the same posture as Simeon. We have climbed the staircase of the Christian virtue, from whence we look for that blessed hope, the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

From a sermon entitled "Simeon." Image by Roberto Ferrari under Creative Commons License.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Great Substitute for sinners

No man ever knows Christ till the light of God shines on the cross. You may look at a picture of the bleeding Jesus, you may read the story of his wounds, but you have not seen Christ, so as to be saved by his death, unless the light of his Spirit has revealed him to you as the great substitute for sinners, the surety of the new Covenant, suffering in your room, and place, and stead. You know him not, unless the mysterious light has led you to read these words as your own, “He loved me, and gave himself for me.”

From a sermon entitled "From The Dunghill To The Throne," delivered November 5, 1865.
Image by Keven Law under Creative Commons License.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

When the Church knows defeat

Joshua might have gone from city to city exterminating the nations, as they justly deserved to be, but Achan had taken of the accursed thing and hidden it in his tent, therefore no victory could be won by Israel till his theft and sacrilege had been put away. Beloved, this is symbolic of the Christian Church. We might go from victory to victory; our home mission operations might be successful, and our foreign agencies might be crowned with triumph, if it were not that we have Achans in the camp at home.

When Churches have no conversions, it is more than probable that hypocrites concealed among them have turned away the Lord’s blessing. You who are inconsistent, who make the profession of religion the means of getting wealth, you who unite yourselves with God’s people, but at the same time covet the goodly Babylonish garment, and the wedge of gold, you are those who cut the sinews of Zion’s strength; you prevent the Israel of God from going forth to victory. Ah! little do we know, beloved, how Satan has hindered us. We, as a Church, have had much reason to thank God, but how many more might within these walls have been added to the number of this Church if it had not been for the coldness of some, the indifference of others, the inconsistency of a few, and the worldliness of many more! Satan hinders us not merely by direct opposition, but by sending Achans into the midst of our camp.

From a sermon entitled "Satanic Hindrances," delivered October 29, 1865. Image by spisharam under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A chance for mercy

If the Spirit of God once comes in contact with your souls, and shows you that Christ died for you, your enmity towards Christ will be all over then.

Dr. Gifford once went to see a woman in prison who had been a very gross offender. She was such a hardened reprobate, that the doctor began by discoursing with her about the judgments of God, and the punishments of hell, but she only laughed him to scorn, and called him opprobrious names. The doctor burst into tears, and said, “And yet, poor soul, there is mercy for you, even for such as you are, though you have laughed in the face of him who would do you good. Christ is able to forgive you, hard though you are; and I hope that he will yet take you to dwell with him at his right hand.” In a moment the woman stopped her laughing, sat down quietly, burst into tears, and said, “Don’t talk to me in that way; I have always been told that I should be damned, and I made up my mind to be; I knew there was no chance, and so I have gone on from one sin to another: but oh! if there is a hope of mercy for me, that is another thing; if there is a possibility of my being forgiven, that is another thing.”

The doctor at once opened his Bible, and began to read to her these words, “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s dear Son, cleanseth us from all sin;” the greatest brokenness of heart followed. In subsequent visits the doctor was gratified to find that she was brought to Christ; and though she had to undergo a sentence of transportation for many years at the time, yet in after days the godly man saw her walking honestly and uprightly as a believer in Jesus Christ.

From a sermon entitled "Prevenient Grace." Image by Yuval Haimovits under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The great theme of His love

...Christ Jesus is both our science and our poetry, and as ministers we are complete in him. When we come forth to preach him, and to lift him up, we are armed from head to foot, and rich with weapons for our spiritual warfare; though learning and art have had no hand in fashioning our panoply, we need not fear that we shall meet a single foe who can withstand the terror of those celestial arms. God grant us grace in all our teachings to keep close to Jesus Christ, for his love is a theme most fit for all cases, and most sweet at all times.

From a sermon entitled "The Great Itinerant," delivered October 22, 1865. Image by Michael Peligro under Creative Commons License.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The ship of prayer

The Lord is good to them that seek him. Thousands have come from his door, but none have had reason to complain of a cold reception, for in every case he hath filled the hungry with good things. Therefore, my soul, go boldly and knock, for he giveth liberally and upbraideth not. In all states of dilemma or of difficulty prayer is an available source.

Bunyan tells us that when the City of Mansoul was besieged it was the depth of winter and the roads were very bad, but even then prayer could travel them; and I will venture to affirm that if all earthly roads were so bad that they could not be traveled, and if Mansoul were so surrounded that there was not a gap left through which we could break our way to get to the king, yet the road upwards would always open. No enemy can barricade that; no blockading ships can sail between our souls and the haven of the mercy-seat. The ship of prayer may sail through all temptations, doubts and fears, straight up to the throne of God; and though she may be outward bound with only griefs, and groans, and sighs, she shall return freighted with a wealth of blessings. There is hope then, Christian, for you are allowed to pray.

From a sermon entitled "Memory - The Handmaid Of Hope," delivered October 15, 1865. Image by Kyle Pearce under Creative Commons License.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A spiritual house

Architecture, with its arched roofs, and noble pillars, and dim religious light, is supposed to impart a reverence and awe which befit the solemn engagements of the Sabbath, and draw the mind towards the invisible God. Well, if combinations of stone can sanctify the spirit of man, it is a pity that the gospel did not prescribe architecture as the remedy for the ruin of the fall; if gorgeous buildings make men love God, and long-drawn aisles renovate men’s spiritual nature, build, all ye builders, both day and night. If bricks and mortar can lead us to heaven, alas for the confusion which stopped the works at Babel. If there be such a connection between spires and spiritual things as to make human hearts beat in unison with the will of God, then build high and loftily, and lavish your gold and silver; but if all that you produce is sensuous, and nothing more, then turn ye to living stones, and seek to build up a spiritual house with spiritual means.

From a sermon entitled "A Blow For Puseyism," delivered October 8, 1865. Image by atomicjeep under Creative Commons License.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The reign of the Great Shepherd

All hail, thou Son of David! Reign thou for ever! Hosanna unto thee! Thine enemies cannot dispossess thee; thou hast smitten them terribly, and they shall yet feel the terror of thine arm. The Shepherd reigns, Jesus Christ is King of God’s Church, and one of these days the reign of David will blossom into the reign of Solomon. We shall see Jesus Christ under a yet more glorious type, for he shall reign from the river even unto the ends of the earth. There shall be no war with the Ammonites, no war anywhere; all enemies shall have been put beneath his feet, and the kings of the nations shall bow before him, and they that dwell in the wilderness shall lick the dust. May that millennial splendor soon dawn, when the Son of David shall be King for ever and ever as the great Shepherd, reigning over all lands.

From a sermon entitled "Jesus The Shepherd," delivered October 1, 1865. Image by Jule_Berlin under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Seeing Him in Nature

Isaac walked in the fields at eventide to meditate. I commend him for his occupation. Meditation is exceedingly profitable to the mind. If we talked less, read less, and meditated more, we should be wiser men.

I commend him for the season which he chose for that occupation — at eventide. When the business of the day was over, and the general stillness of nature was in harmony with the quiet of his soul. I also commend him for the place which he selected — the wide expanse of nature — the field. Wise men can readily find a thousand subjects for contemplation abroad in the open country. Our four-square room is not very suggestive; but when a man walks in the fields, having the Lord in his heart, and his whole mental faculties directed towards heavenly things, all things aid him in his pleasing occupation. If we look above to sun, moon, and stars, all these remind us of the grandeur of God, and make us ask ourselves, “What is man, that the Lord should be mindful of him, or the son of man, that Jehovah should visit him?” If we look below, the green meadows, or golden cornfields, all proclaim divine care and bounty. There is not a bird that sings, nor a grasshopper that chirps in the grass, which does not urge us to praise and magnify the name of the Most High: while the plants, from the hyssop on the wall to the cedar which spreads its boughs so gloriously on Lebanon, exhibit to observant eyes the wisdom of the great Creator of all things. The murmuring brook talks to the listening ear in hallowed whispers of him whose cloudy throne supplies its stream; and the air, as it sighs amid the trees, tells in mysterious accents of the great unseen, but ever-active Spirit of the living God.

From a sermon entitled "A Sermon From A Rush," delivered September 24, 1865. Image by Sharon Mollerus under Creative Commons License.